Origin (formerly Long Beach Peninsula)

May 8th, 2073

She’d done what no one else before her had done, she’d breached the boundary of Origin! Oh how her father would look at her if he was here to see. He’d probably soil himself to realize that the fruit of his loins, a woman he’d thought was utterly worthless since the day she was born, had done something that few people would have ever been daring enough to try. And it had been so much easier than she’d believed possible.

The monstrous fish that patrolled the Dark Ribbon that ran between Impact and this place did not stretch their boundaries to the bay that separated the peninsula from the mainland. While many knew this fact they didn’t know why. It was because other creatures called the bay home, and while they weren’t quite as vicious as the dreaded Durgess they were every bit as deadly. The giant harbor seals, the immense demon crabs, and the rumored leviathan that lurked at the deepest parts of the bay were all stories that she and many others of eastern Washington had been told as children, and she had no reason to doubt them.

In fact she could easily swear that she’d seen a large, ominous shadow looming below her canoe even as she’d been doing her best to fend off the few crabs and seals that had dared to come close. The electrical panels that were rigged to the bottom of her canoe, called thumpers, had dissuaded many of those creatures that would have otherwise tried to sink her, but a few of the bravest had still felt the bite of the blades she had on her person at all times.

Now however, standing upon the dry and very overgrown shore that had once been a place called Nahcotta, Marnie couldn’t help but smile in satisfaction as she spread her arms wide, savoring the victory for what it was.

“Are you done congratulating yourself?”

The hooked blades that were harnessed on her back were in her hands in the next second as she opened her eyes, assuming a ready stance, dropping into a crouch as the man standing several yards away just stared at her. Or rather, glared at her.

“I haven’t seen weapons like those in a while,” he mused, “Do you even know how to use them?”

Her immediate response was hard to bite back, but as she looked upon the strangely-dressed individual she found it more amenable to be polite and not overly confrontational in that moment.

“Are you the caretaker, of this place I mean?” she asked. Marnie felt foolish in that moment as the words came tumbling out. But as the man hefted his own weapon, a white staff that seemed to glow from within….

Wait, where had that come from? She hadn’t seen it just a moment ago when she’d opened her eyes. What the hell?

“I am,” he replied simply, “And now that we’ve got that out of the way, you were just about to turn around and leave.”

Marnie’s temper rose quickly yet again as she cocked her head, smiling faintly as she replied, “Only if you can make me.”

The caretaker shook his head as he twirled his staff once. Why were they always so foolish?

(to be continued)

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